Stem cells are present in all of us and all our animal pets.
They are cells present from birth which have not yet differentiated into specialised cells in the body. All the cells in our bodies originally started life as stem cells.
Stem cells have been used in treatment for a long time. Bone marrow transplants are a form of stem cell therapy. Recent work has shown that stem cells are present in many more tissues than was previously thought. The good news is that some of these cells are in places that are very easy to get at.
Stem cells need to be activated in order for them to do their work. This activation can be carried out by some special proteins in the body, or we can do it by injecting activator substances. A suitable activator chemical can be sourced from placentae of sheep. The chemical is purified, then injected intravenously into our patients, stimulating the patient’s own stem cells into action. Alternatively, we can remove the stem cells from the body, activate them externally, then inject them back into the site of injury.
Stem cell therapy can be used to help treat a wide variety of conditions, though the most common use is for arthritis in dogs.
Possible other uses include :
There are two treatment options available.
This involves one or more intravenous injections of stem cell activator into the patient. The activator is derived from sheep placenta. Stem cells throughout the body are activated and migrate to the site of damage, increasing rate of healing by improving blood flow and providing new healing cells.
The injection must be given intravenously, but can be done during a routine consultation with one of our vets.
We have been using this on several cases already and have noticed an increased healing rate. This is likely to be an area of therapy that expands rapidly as more uses are found for it.
It has been discovered that fat tissue has an incredibly high number of stem cells in it, vastly more even than bone marrow. Fat tissue is readily available under the skin, and removing a small portion causes no harm to the patient. The fat is surgically removed under anaesthetic, then processed in the in-clinic laboratory. While the patient recovers from the surgery, the processing is completed in 3-4 hours. The purified, concentrated and activated stem cells are then injected back into the site of damage, normally into arthritic joints. Several joints can be treated with one extracted sample. This much more involved technique provides greatly increased numbers of activated stem cells than the simple intravenous injection of activator, and results are likely to reflect that in terms of response to therapy.
The aim of therapy is to increase the rate of healing, by stimulating blood flow to the affected area, bringing in new cells, oxygen and food supplies for the damaged tissue.
Stem Cell Therapy at Franklin Vets
We now have both therapies available at our clinic in Pukekohe. We have performed the full fat graft-derived stem cell therapy on dogs and our nurses have had full training in how to process the samples.
Processing of the sample is the most involved part of the procedure. Obtaining the fat sample and injecting the product back into the joints is very straightforward.
The whole process can be done on a single day. First thing in the morning the fat sample is taken under general anaesthetic. The patient then recovers in the hospital while the sample is processed (around 4 hours). There is then another short anaesthetic or sedative (depending on which joints are being treated) and the activated stem cells are injected. As soon as the patient has recovered from this second session, they can go home, normally around 5pm.
The majority of cases treated are likely to be osteoarthritis patients. If you own a dog with significant osteoarthritis due to an injury, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, or cruciate ligament injury and surgery, or just simply unlucky genes, then perhaps you would like to consider this therapy for your pet. Please contact the Pukekohe clinic for advice, or collect one of the leaflets on Stem Cell Therapy from the clinic.
A pre-treatment orthopaedic assessment is required. Xrays may be recommended prior to starting stem cell therapy, and these are done at normal xray charges.
The price of fat-derived stem cell therapy in dogs is currently only $2500 for the whole day’s treatment. Feel free to compare this price with other clinics.
During Arthritis Awareness Month the price for fat-derived stem cell therapy in dogs is reduced down to $2200!
SGF 1000 is likely to be offered to most of our routine major surgery patients, such as joint reconstructions and fracture repair, but will be available for a wide variety of conditions as discussed above. Cost is very modest compared to the financial investment many of these patients are already receiving. Sometimes a course of injections is prescribed.
If you have any questions regarding this exciting line of therapy, allowing us finally to look at healing damaged tissue naturally rather than using drug therapy, please contact me at the clinic in Pukekohe.
Paul Eason BVM&S MANZCVS